Gallagher Bassett (GB) has implemented the GB Gentle Bear program to comfort the children who suffered from the intense flooding that hit Northern Adelaide in early October.
The GB Gentle Bear was designed to emotionally aid children who suffer from traumatic events, such as serious traffic accidents and domestic violence, by diverting their attention from the immediate, distressing situation with handmade teddy bears.
With the support of Minister Leesa Vlahos, member for Taylor, the ‘gentle bears’ were delivered to Virginia Primary School and to the Red Cross volunteers at the Virginia Recovery Centre. There, Paul Easter, GB’s executive director, product development, and Emma Hosking, GB project manager, introduced the gentle bear and shared the story behind it.
The impact of the gentle bears was felt immediately, said GB.
Voula Pounendis, deputy principal, spoke about a child who approached her to speak about some problems she was facing. Pounendis had to momentarily leave the student in her office with the bears to attend to another matter; and when she came back, found the child crying while hugging a bear.
“I was lost for words,” said Voula.
“The student asked me where the bear had come from, and I explained about the Gentle Bear program. ‘The person who thought of this is truly amazing,’ the student said, before suggesting that we have a few bears in the counselling room.”
“I experienced firsthand just how quickly the bears can make a difference in a student’s life.”
GB’s Easter said: “We’ve distributed thousands of bears across the globe through the Gentle Bear Program and I’m still overwhelmed by the positive effect and comfort Gentle Bear brings to children suffering from a traumatic experience.”
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